Review of Amil and the After, by Veera Hiranandani

Amil and the After

by Veera Hiranandani

Kokila, 2024. 261 pages.
Review written June 20, 2024, from an advance reader copy sent to me by the publisher
Starred Review

I loved this book. Now, this is no surprise – this book features the same family as in The Night Diary, one of the books the 2019 Newbery Committee I was on chose as an Honor book. I think I read that book at least three times and loved it. I was happy to spend time with Nisha and Amil again, in a happier part of their story.

And that’s what the book is about – how do you get back to a normal life after great upheaval and trauma? In The Night Diary, Nisha and Amil’s Hindu family (even though their dead mother was Muslim) have to flee Pakistan after Partition – when the country was created overnight. Their journey was dangerous and harrowing, and they saw some awful things.

Now the family is settled in Bombay in 1948. Papa is working in a hospital there, and Nisha and Amil are going to school. But it’s hard to make friends. And it’s hard for Amil to concentrate on schoolwork. He’d rather be drawing.

It’s also hard for him to forget all the things he’s seen. And he knows he’s lucky – but what about the boys like him who are unlucky? Is there anything he can do to help?

Amil’s torn between heavy thoughts like that – and just wanting to daydream about getting a bicycle. But there’s still unrest in India, and will they even be able to stay in Bombay?

This book’s told from Amil’s perspective, and I loved spending time with him again and watching him learn to be happy again. (And you can read it if you haven’t read the first book – but that will give you more context.)

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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